Colorado Criminal Defense Blog

Boulder County ex-pastor sentenced in teen sex crimes case

  • 25
  • July
    2014

A Colorado defendant accused of a sexual offense can experience rapid, harsh backlash. The public's emotionally-charged response to allegations of sexual misconduct does not wait for proof of wrongdoing or a verdict. A criminal defense lawyer understands the high stakes – damage to reputation and personal and professional relationships.

A former youth pastor at a Boulder County church will spend the next two years in prison for a relationship he once had with a female churchgoer. The victim was 15 when the alleged misconduct began. The ex-youth pastor, now 35, is the son of the Vinelife Church's senior pastor.

Felony charges dropped in sensitive Colorado DUI fatality case

  • 18
  • July
    2014

The public -- not a jury -- is often the first to issue a judgment on whether a Boulder criminal defendant is guilty. Emotional responses can overlook facts. Those responses, however popular, may not exceed the boundaries of the law.

The district attorney in Colorado's 14th Judicial District recently wrote about a sensitive DUI case. The prosecutor explained why he chose to drop felony vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges against a man who was driving while intoxicated. The defendant's truck hit a family crossing U.S. Highway 34 in July 2013, killing the father and seriously injuring the man's spouse and two children.

Colorado judge considers venue change in sexual assault case

  • 16
  • July
    2014

The media can stoke a fire that burns a Boulder defendant charged with sexual offenses. Pre-trial screening is designed to prevent juror prejudice. In some high profile sex crime cases, a fair trial is guaranteed only by moving a trial outside a community tainted by preconceived opinions.

A Colorado judge delayed a ruling on a change of venue for the trial of an ex-health care worker, who pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two nursing home residents. The trial recently opened with jury selection involving more than 100 possible candidates. Screening results were expected to help the judge determine whether local jurors could come to a non-prejudiced verdict despite heavy, local media coverage.

Boulder County murder defendant accepts plea deal

  • 09
  • July
    2014

Plea agreements allow courts to avoid the time and expense involved in trying a defendant. A Boulder defendant, facing an uncertain verdict at a criminal trial, may agree to plead guilty, provided prosecutors reduce charges or penalties.

Three Boulder County men were charged with the January murder of a 25-year-old Lafayette man. One defendant, a 58-year-old Berthoud man, recently opted to accept a plea deal. The man was sentenced to a 15-year prison term, after pleading guilty to robbery and accessory to murder offenses.

Prosecutors agreed to drop first-degree murder and two marijuana possession with intent to distribute charges. The remaining defendants, ages 26 and 38, are still facing charges for first-degree murder, aggravated motor vehicle theft and robbery.

33 Colorado DUI cases affected by badly calibrated breath tester

  • 20
  • June
    2014

A criminal case can involve a lot of people a Boulder defendant never sees. A technician in a state lab assesses blood alcohol content levels that determine the fate of Colorado drivers charged with DUI. Criminal defense attorneys know machines and people aren't 100 percent reliable -- results of breath and blood tests can be wrong.

In Weld County, just east of Boulder, attorneys are being notified about a human mistake that may have affected the outcomes of 33 drunk-driving cases. The head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the breath test machine an agency technician used was not faulty. The calibration of the machine was.

Boulder police hobble aggressive woman during assault arrest

  • 13
  • June
    2014

Being approached by a police officer for questioning can be unnerving for anyone. A person may feel accused simply in an officer's presence. Unfortunately, some criminal defendants add to their legal troubles by speaking or acting out against authorities.

Police took a woman into custody, who allegedly assaulted someone taking her picture and became aggressive during her arrest. The 27-year-old defendant was standing with several others behind Boulder high school when a person walking nearby apparently noticed the group was smoking marijuana. The walker started snapping pictures.

Police use deadly force against Boulder student with pellet gun

  • 05
  • June
    2014

Deadly force is an extreme measure used when police situations are or appear to be life-threatening. A USA Today article recently reported there was no nationwide standard governing the use of deadly force or reporting confrontations. The Police Studies Council learned unarmed civilians were part of one in four deadly force incidents; two-thirds of the encounters happened in poorly lit areas where officers could misjudge whether an immediate danger was real.

A 23-year-old student at the University of Colorado was shot several times by Boulder officers in what authorities described as a standoff. The officers perceived the man was pointing a weapon at them from his University Hill apartment. Investigators later discovered the firearm was a pellet gun.

Boulder police heavily monitoring drivers for alcohol, drug DUIs

  • 30
  • May
    2014

Unofficial summer has arrived in Boulder and so have warnings from law enforcement agencies about the dangers of impaired driving. Colorado laws have changed since last summer, when the recreational marijuana use was still against the law. Now that adults legally can buy and use marijuana, police are watching for signs of drugged and drunk driving.

The Summit Daily reported drivers with as little as five nanograms of tetrahydrocannabidinol, marijuana's active ingredient, in their systems can be charged with DUI. The potential consequences are as severe an alcohol-related conviction. A loss of driving privileges, thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time are possible depending on the level of intoxication, DUI history and whether an injury accident or death occurred.

Police: Teen-targeted Boulder marijuana, mushroom ring cracked

  • 23
  • May
    2014

Purchases of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes are legal in Colorado, as long as buyers and sellers abide by state drug laws. Authorized retailers are permitted to sell up to an ounce of marijuana to state residents and quarter ounces to out-of-state residents. Customers must be at least 21 years old.

Central Park activities were under observation for over a month by Boulder police this spring. Authorities claimed they uncovered a ring of drug dealers making marijuana and psychedelic mushroom transactions with customers, that included teens as young as 14. Officers followed buyers after the deals and questioned them.

Senate stalls Colorado bill to upgrade repeat DUIs to felonies

  • 14
  • May
    2014

Any length of time in jail can be detrimental to a defendant's life. A six-month sentence for a misdemeanor or a one-year term or longer for a felony may have the same effect. Jail time causes obstacles to higher education, housing and job prospects plus wage losses that can disrupt or ruin a family's finances.

Colorado lawmakers recently considered a bill that would have imposed harsher charges and penalties upon DUI repeat offenders. Under the measure, a third drunk driving offense within five years or fourth DUI within 15 years would have become a class 4 felony. Currently, and for the foreseeable future, offenses for driving while intoxicated in Colorado are misdemeanors.